Writing fantasy and sci-fi can be challenging, but the biggest problem I observe in emerging writers is starting the story with a big ol' boring roadblock of background information. The effect is similar to listening to a tour guide drone on interminably
as the tourists yawn, clear their throats and check their cell phones for the latest from the Twittersphere, waiting to be taken into the actual attraction.
In sci-fi and fantasy, instead of immersing us into the action of the story, many emerging writers
will instead spend paragraphs, pages, even an entire (gag) prologue:
- telling the reader about this strange, bizarre, wonderful land.
- describing the planet where the story will eventually get interesting (we hope).
- explaining the
technology or how it was created.
The antidote? Good fantasy and sci-fi writing has to start with a good story. Gadgets and magic are cool, but without a good story, you've lost your readers.
Before you start writing, develop some interesting
characters with quirks and problems, people (or beings) that we can like, hate, sympathize with. Think of conflicts that might exist in their lives independent of your storyline.
Once you have characters the reader can care about, put their lives in
motion right away--from the first line of the book, if possible. It can be something relatively small (note: avoid having your characters waking up and preparing for the day; more boredom), but it should shortly reveal or begin to set in motion one or more
of the conflicts.
As your characters become entangled in the circumstances of the story, you can reveal details about location, culture, physics, technology, etc.
So in summary:
1. Put your characters in motion right away.
and magic are cool, but well-developed characters and intriguing conflicts are the heart of a story.